Manchester City’s visit at Santiago Bernabeu has a feel of one team against the world. The Cityzens come into the fixture amidst a row with UEFA over false sponsorships account records.
Already banned from European competitions for the next two years due to the financial fair play violations, Manchester City and Pep Guardiola know that they are walking on thin ice.
Zinedine Zidane has never lost a European knockout tie as Real Madrid manager and despite not winning in their last two, the home team is the favorite.
Both teams could do with a good European run based on their positions on the table. Liverpool is miles ahead of Manchester City in the Premier League table while Real Madrid lost a three-point lead to go two behind Barcelona in the space of two weeks.
Pep Guardiola has not won the Champions League since he beat Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United at Wembley nine years ago. His failure to do so is the biggest question mark in what has been a trophy ridden managerial career.
The fact that he is a Catalan visiting the Spanish capital means that he will not be short of hostile receptions from the home crowd. However, on the pitch, Manchester City will need to be at their absolute best if they are to pass this test.
Real Madrid is the record European champion for a reason and the whole club plus fans live for Champions League nights. With Zidane at the helm, they have conquered all in front of them in the continent, can Pep Guardiola and his wounded side end this run?